Blood is a first-person shooter video game developed by Monolith Productions and published by GT Interactive Software. The shareware version was released for the PC on March 7, 1997, while the full version was released on May 21, 1997 in North America, and June 20, 1997 in Europe.
The game follows the story of Caleb, an undead early 20th century gunfighter seeking revenge against the dark god Tchernobog. It features a number of occult and horror themes. Blood includes large amounts of graphic violence, a large arsenal of weapons ranging from the standard to the bizarre, and numerous enemies and bosses.
The Blood franchise was continued with two official expansion packs titled Plasma Pak (developed by Monolith) and Cryptic Passage (developed by Sunstorm Interactive). A sequel titled Blood II: The Chosen was released on November 25, 1998. The game was released on GOG.com along with its two expansion packs on April 22, 2010, utilizing the DOSBox emulator to run on modern systems. It was released on Steam on July 14, 2014. The game also served as a principal inspiration for the manhwa Priest. A remaster of the game made to run better on modern systems entitled Blood: Fresh Supply was released on May 9, 2019.
In single player mode, the player takes the role of Caleb in his quest for revenge against his former master by navigating levels in episodes, looking for an exit, until the boss level.
Blood's gameplay is similar to other classic FPS games like Doom: the player must activate switches or seek keys to go through the levels; some larger maps contain up to six different keys. Features include teleporters, traps such as crushing blocks, explosive barrels, lava pits, jumping puzzles, and combination lock doors.
Blood is one of the earliest FPS games to feature alternate or secondary attack modes for its weapons. Weapons include a flare gun, Voodoo doll, and an aerosol canister that can be used as a flamethrower. It also features a power-up known as 'Guns Akimbo', which allows the player to dual wield certain weapons temporarily. Blood also has 'super secret' areas which contain rewards for discovering them.
Enemies include human members of the Cabal and creatures fighting for the dark god Tchernobog. Enemies can use objects in the environment for cover. The game also features a lesser class of enemies (bats, rats, eels, possessed hands, etc.) often referred to as 'nuisance enemies' that are not considered threats individually, but can be deadly in large numbers.
Blood, like many FPS games of the time, features multiplayer modes. When it was released, Internet play was not well established, so Blood used modem, LAN, or serial cable connections for multiplayer. Modem and serial cable connections only allow two player games, while an IPX network connection can support up to eight players. This can easily be achieved on a variety of platforms that support DOSBox and its IPX modes, coupled with VPN software such as Hamachi. Online multiplayer was also possible via the Total Entertainment Network and DWANGO.
The multiplayer modes consist of deathmatch, known in Blood as 'Bloodbath', and cooperative play. Bloodbath matches can be played on specifically designed multiplayer maps or on the levels of the various episodes; the 'frag limit' or 'time limit' options are available to end matches, as well as the possibility to control respawn mode for weapons and power-ups. A feature of Bloodbath is 'The Voice', an audio comment heard upon each frag, that punctuates the death of an opponent often in gory and irreverent terms. 'The Voice' is that of Jace Hall, who was CEO of Monolith Productions at the time. Cooperative gameplay follows the lines of the single player campaign, allowing several players to work together in the levels of the different episodes.
Blood takes place in an unspecified time period. The various levels contain elements from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, in addition to futuristic and retro-futuristic technologies and a weird West theme. Many elements are anachronistic, including weapons and pop-culture references. The sequel, Blood II: The Chosen, retroactively dates the game to the year 1928.
The backstory is not delineated in the game itself, only on the Monolith website and a readme text document. The player takes on the role of Caleb, once the supreme commander of a cult called 'The Cabal', worshipers of the forgotten god Tchernobog. Known as a merciless gunfighter in the late 19th century American West, Caleb joined the Cabal in 1871 after meeting Ophelia Price, a woman whose husband and son may have been murdered by the members of the Cabal; it is implied that she later became Caleb's lover. Together they rose to the highest circle of the dark cult, 'The Chosen', until all four members of The Chosen were betrayed and killed by Tchernobog for unspecified failures. Several years later, Caleb rises from his grave, seeking answers and vengeance.
In search of Tchernobog's minion, the gargoyle Cheogh, Caleb moves to the rail yard and station, where he boards the northbound 'Phantom Express'. He fights off the undead which swarm the train, finally stopping the train by blowing up the locomotive. Emerging from the wreckage, cutting through swarms of Cabal loyalists and other creatures, Caleb enters the 'Great Temple'. A teleporter in the temple leads Caleb to Cheogh's altar, where he fights and slays the creature. Caleb finishes by lighting up Ophelia's funeral pyre to cremate her body.
Caleb heads to the Arctic north on a large icebound wooden sailing ship. He disembarks at a lumber mill the Cabal has transformed into a crude human remains processing area. He makes his way into a mine in search of Shial's lair. Navigating the Cabal infested tunnels, Caleb finds a dark stony cavern where he defeats Shial, crushing her with a stomp of his boot. He then rips out and consumes the heart of the webbed corpse of Gabriel, another of the betrayed Chosen, thus gaining the power of his fallen comrade.
Cerberus is promoted to Tchernobog's second in command. Caleb moves across an industrial facility, entering a nearby dam control installation located near Cerberus' cavern, then blows up the dam with explosives. The resulting flood makes Cerberus' hideout accessible. Caleb fills Cerberus' stomach with bundles of TNT and blows up the corpse.
Caleb heads for the 'Hall of the Epiphany' where Tchernobog is waiting. There, before facing him, Caleb learns why 'The Chosen' were cast down: Tchernobog knew Caleb would return to him, killing anyone he ran into to take his revenge and thus gaining immense power, something Tchernobog wants for himself. Caleb battles and destroys the dark god. One of Tchernobog's worshipers approaches Caleb and declares him their new god. Caleb shoots him and leaves the Hall of Epiphany.
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